From the AMEX – England ensured they will progress to the Euro 2022 quarter finals as group winners with a stunning 8-0 victory over Norway in Brighton on Monday evening.
Having been unconvincing during their narrow 1-0 victory over Austria in the group opener five days earlier, Monday’s match up with a team billed by many as dark horses this summer was billed as a tightly contested encounter. This wasn’t quite the case.
England blew Norway away with an emphatic first half performance, racing into a 6-0 lead at the break courtesy of doubles from Beth Mead and Ellen White, a Georgia Stanway penalty and a Lauren Hemp goal. Substitute Alessia Russo was on the scoresheet in the second half, before Mead completed her hat-trick.
The rout began as England were awarded a spot kick after 10 minutes when Maria Thorisdottir was penalised for a clumsy trip on White. Stanway confidently dispatched from 12 yards out, the Lionesses’ penalty woes from the 2019 World Cup a seemingly distant memory.
Five minutes later it was two. Stanway sent Mead scurrying into the box with a fabulous through ball, and the Arsenal winger’s low cross was bundled home by Hemp. The goal was initially ruled out for offside, but as chants of ‘VAR’ rung around the Amex, the technology intervened and the goal stood.
The Lionesses added a third before the half hour mark, Thorisdottir at the thick of the action once again for all the wrong reasons as she was dispossessed by Ellen White on the edge of the box. The England striker finished cooly past Guro Pettersen
England’s high press continued to pay dividends as they made it four with just 35 minutes on the clock. White harried the Norway backline, the ball worked its way to Hemp, and her curling cross from the right was glanced home by Mead.
The Arsenal forward netted her second of the evening and third of the tournament before the half was out, embarking on a solo mazy run past three Norwegian defenders and providing the finish to match.
England then ensured they bettered France’s extraordinary first half efforts from Sunday evening by making it six before the break. Kirby was again the provider as her cross from the right was crashed home by White at the back post.
England showed no signs of letting up in the second period, remaining camped inside the Norway half. The Lionesses got their seventh just after the hour mark, as substitute Alessia Russo headed home Lucy Bronze’s looping cross.
Mead completed her hat-trick in the final 10 minutes, gobbling up the rebound after Keira Walsh’s strike from range was parried into her path by Pettersen to conclude an extraordinary performance.
GK: Mary Earps – 6/10 – Just had a lovely day watching her teammates pick Norway apart. Made one comfortable save to keep out a tame Saevik effort in the first half, but otherwise a spectator.
RB: Lucy Bronze – 8/10 – Won the ball high up the pitch on a number of occasions to trigger a selection of dangerous England counter attacks. Really excelled in the high pressing system. Set up England’s seventh.
CB: Millie Bright – 9/10 – Hardly gave the world class Hegerberg an inch with a masterful, robust defensive performance.
CB: Leah Williamson – 7/10 – Really effective at playing through the lines from deep. Helped Bright keep Hegerberg in check.
LB: Rachel Daly – 7/10 – Crunched into tackles, charged forward repeatedly and combined really well with Hemp.
CM: Keira Walsh – 8/10 – Cool, calm and collected. Kept England ticking over and linked up well with Stanway and Kirby. Had a hand in England’s eighth with a drive from distance.
CM: Georgia Stanway – 9/10 – Emphatically put away her penalty inside 10 minutes. Instrumental in England’s second, cutting open the Norway backline with a through ball, Burst forward at every opportunity.
CM: Fran Kirby – 8/10 – Thrived drifting into pockets of space between the midfield and defence. Top class decision making, setting up England’s fifth and sixth goals. England’s front four combined so well, and Kirby was pivotal to this.
RW: Beth Mead – 10/10 – Assisted England’s second with a burst into the box and low cross. Netted a glancing header for England’s third, but her second was the pick of the bunch following a stunning solo run. Completed her hat-trick in the second half. Oozing confidence.
ST: Ellen White – 9/10 – Won the penalty, was then on the scoresheet with a goal all of her own making, dispossessing Thorisdottir and dispatching cooly, and added a second with a back post finish.
LW: Lauren Hemp – 8/10 – Had more joy inside the first 15 minutes than she did during the entirety of the Austria match, wreaking havoc with her signature slalom runs. Ghosted into the box to bundle home England’s second, and set up the third with a bending cross from the right.
SUB: Alessia Russo – /10 – Netted her maiden major tournament goal as she headed home Bronze’s cross in the second half.
SUB: Ella Toone – 7/10
SUB: Alex Greenwood – 7/10 – Rattled the upright with an effort from range.
SUB: Chloe Kelly – 7/10
SUB: Jill Scott – 6/10
GK: Guro Pettersen – 3/10 – Conceded seven but wasn’t offered a great deal of protection by her leaky backline. Could have done better with Mead and Russo’s headers.
RB: Tuva Hansen – 3/10 – Couldn’t contend with the trickery and directness of Hemp.
CB: Maren Mjelde – 3/10 – Lost track of White for England’s sixth as the whole Norway backline had a bit of a nightmare.
CB: Maria Thorisdottir – 2/10 – Conceded the spot kick from which England opened the scoring with an unnecessary trip on White, and gifted possession to the England forward for the Lionesses’ third. Has had better days.
LB: Julie Blakstad – 2/10 – Looked dangerous going forward in the early stages but really struggled to deal with Mead defensively, with a multitude of England chances – and goals – coming down the Norway left.
RM: Karina Saevik – 4/10 – Saw Norway’s first sighting of goal but couldn’t connect cleanly with Blakstad’s cross. Otherwise unable to exert any influence on proceedings, replaced at half time.
CM: Vilde Boe Risa – 4/10 – Couldn’t contain England’s dynamic midfield duo of Kirby and Stanway. Replaced on the hour.
CM: Ingrid Syrstad Engen – 4/10 – Outran and outclassed by Stanway and Kirby in the middle.
LM: Guro Reiten – 4/10 – Really struggled to deal with the aggressiveness of Bronze in the first half, with the England right back dispossessing her on a number of occasions. Switched to a number 10 role in the second half but didn’t have any more joy.
CAM: Caroline Graham Hansen – 4/10 – Largely anonymous such was England’s dominance. Switched to the right flank in the second half but had no joy against Daly or Greenwood.
ST: Ada Hegerberg – 4/10 – Marked out of the game by the tremendous Bright.
SUB: Guro Bergsvand – 4/10
SUB: Frida Maanum – 4/10
SUB: Celin Bizet Ildhusøy – 4/10
SUB: Amalie Eikeland – 4/10
SUB: Elisabeth Terland – N/A